Kobo refreshes e-reader line with Sage and Libra 2, adding Bluetooth and stylus support – TechCrunch

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A pair of new e-readers from Kobo iterate on the corporate’s high-end options, adding Bluetooth audiobook and stylus support to the now acquainted asymmetrical design of its bigger units. The Sage and Libra 2 additionally achieve a new charging cowl so that you solely should plug the device in each few months moderately than each few weeks.

The Sage is the higher-end of the 2 fashions, being an evolution of the Forma, which I reviewed here. The superb 8″, 300 PPI screen and color-adjustable screen gentle are the identical, so relaxation assured the studying expertise will proceed to be nice. Likewise the Libra 2 is the sequel to the Libra H2O (they’re dropping the H2O, but it surely’s nonetheless waterproof), with the identical kind of display and gentle at 7″ as a substitute. (In order for you smaller, the Clara remains to be the best transfer.)

New in each the readers is Bluetooth audio that can be utilized solely for sending Kobo audiobooks to your wi-fi headset of selection. Whereas it’s at all times good to have new capabilities, it’s a bit shocking that Kobo determined to restrict this to its personal service. The corporate has usually been very open to completely different codecs and providers, letting you load no matter doc codecs you need on its readers — so it’s shocking that the strategy right here is extra restricted. It’s attainable that tie-ins with different providers (just like the units’ strong Pocket integration) are merely forthcoming. Each readers come with 32 gigs of storage inbuilt to accommodate this new space-hogging feature.

A man sitting on a couch reading on a Libra e-reader.

Picture Credit: Kobo

Solely the Sage will get support for Kobo’s new stylus, nevertheless, which was first put to make use of on the new, large-type Ellipsa. It was helpful there however primarily as a result of bigger format permitting the required area for sketching and jotting down notes. Whether or not that utility makes the leap to the smaller (however nonetheless on the massive facet for an e-reader) Sage is hard to foretell — however we should always be capable of consider that after we review it.

The shape issue of the units has, sadly, gained considerably in dimension and weight. The Forma and Libra H2O have been notable for what you would possibly name their “facet chin,” a wedge-shaped bezel you can use to carry and function the e-reader one-handed. Though as a rule I favor symmetrical issues, the shape issue (pioneered, it should be mentioned, by Amazon with the Oasis) has grown on me, partly as a result of the screen a part of the device is so skinny that it feels moderately futuristic and after all takes up little or no area.

Side view of the Sage (top) and Forma (bottom). Truly the differences seem smaller than I made them out to be.

Aspect view of the Sage (high) and Forma (backside). Actually the variations appear smaller than I made them out to be.

The new Sage and Libra 2 are positively chunkier, with no extra-thin screen half, as a substitute being as thick as thickest part right through. It’s a clear design in some methods and for all I do know it could even be extra comfy to carry, but it surely’s already robust sufficient to discover a pocket the Forma matches in. And it doesn’t assist that each are about 20 % heavier. Whereas technically that solely quantities to a couple dozen grams and 3 or 4 millimeters, a part of the draw of e-readers to start with is that they're skinny and gentle.

Anyway it may not matter as soon as you place a case on these items — there’s a new evolution of the SleepCover, which mechanically turns the device on or off while you open it, within the PowerCover, which additionally costs the device it protects. After all that’ll most likely add one other few hundred grams too…

Although I grouse about these small adjustments to design and dimensions, the screen and frontlight are nonetheless class-leading and Kobo’s software is nice and simple for studying. We’ll see how these new units stack as much as the previous ones as quickly as we have now the prospect to review them.

The Kobo Sage will price $260, and the Libra 2 will price $180 after they ship on October 19. You possibly can pre-order them now in the event you’re feeling fortunate.

Source : TechCrunch